Causes of Roof Leaks in Oklahoma
And what to look for to see if your roof is leaking.
With all the heavy rain, strong winds, and tornadoes we've been having in Oklahoma, we thought we'd add this information to our website to help you determine if your roof is sound. We live here - and we get it!
Some of the common causes of roof leaks:
Taking care of these immediately can be the difference between doing a quick, inexpensive repair and a major, expensive restoration
- Valleys are Leaking: The valleys of a roof are where 2 sections or planes of a roof meet. If they are not sealed properly, rainwater can get inside the roof as the water runs down the valleys. Look for wet spots that run along the seams/valleys of your roof. Lots of rain or ice can cause the sealing to erode. These are often the reason behind roofing leaks. Fixing this is a complex process, so make sure you call a roofing professional to help you.
- Cracked Flashing: Flashing is a vital part of your roof that creates a water-resistant barrier. These are installed under your shingles and at the joints of your roof to create water run-off sections. If you see any cracks, perhaps the material used to seal the flashing can have corroded. It’s important you have this fixed ASAP. So, check your flashing on a routine basis. Look at the flashing around your chimney, vents, and roof sections.
- Vent Booting is Cracked: Your roof vents are the small, pipe-like objects sticking up out of your roof. They release excess moisture from your attic and home. If this area leaks, you may see dark spots and smell mustiness. What has probably happened is that the flashing around the vent or the robber boot around it has broken or decayed.
- Broken Shingles: This can be pretty easy to see. Look for missing shingles (noticeable by different colored patches between shingles). You may even see them around the exterior of your building/house after a heavy storm, such as we get here in Oklahoma. Here’s a handy idea: when you get your roof redone or repaired, ask for some extra shingles. In this way, you’ll have them on hand for emergencies.
- Improperly Installed Skylights: We see this often. And, it’s not necessary! This occurs when you see wet spots around the inside of your skylight. This can happen from problems with the flashing, poor measuring and fitting of the skylight, or even decayed insulation around the edges of the skylight.
- Moisture in Your Attic: We often see attics that are not properly ventilated, particularly if any external vents have been covered with plastic bags in the winter! It is critical that you keep your attic well ventilated ALL year ‘round. We have a blog article about proper roof ventilation and why it’s so critical. Suffice it to say here in this brief list, if you smell anything musty in your attic or see moisture or mold inside it, chances are that condensation has been trapped inside your attic. Make sure all of your roof vents are working properly. We install some very efficient roof vents to help protect your home! Also, if you do see mold inside the home, you may need to call a professional to look at it and test it.
- Ice Dam Buildup: We’ve talked about these in other blog posts. An ice dame is ice that forms at the edge of your roof. It prevents water from running off of your roof. Even the weight of the ice dam can damage your roof! Ice dams form when the heat from your building causes snow to melt, so that it runs down the roof. When this melted water meets the below freezing exterior air, it refreezes once it hit’s the roof’s exterior edge. You can purchase a roof rake and remove the lower area of snow from your roof edge. This is always a good idea! Or, if you do see some ice forming at the edge of your roof, you may want to treat it with an ice melt product that is specifically made for your roof.
- Cracked Chimney: Because the mortar is just a mixture of water, sand, and cement, it can erode pretty easily in our Oklahoma weather conditions. If you see any cracks, holes, loose flashing or shingles near the roof, cracks between the bricks, any water inside or near your fireplace, or any other signs of wear, we recommend you immediately call a professional to handle the repairs – especially before using the chimney again!
- Clogged Gutters: While clogged gutters may look innocent, they can cause roofing problems. Look for leaves or debris sticking out of your gutters and/or clogged or slow running downspouts. Since the entire purpose of a gutter is to help water move away from the roof and building, blocks mean that the water isn’t moving away properly. It can cause water to pool on the roof or seep through small cracks. We often put screens or gutter guards to protect the gutters from debris, but you’ll still need to clear them out from time to time. We also recommend you install specially made screens for the top of your downspouts. We recommend you clean your gutters at least twice a year.
- Wear and Tear from Heavy Traffic on the Roof: This is usually reserved for commercial roofs that have a lot of equipment on them, but with the growing popularity of flat roofs for homes, we want to include home owners in this brief discussion. This one actually makes a lot of sense: if you have heavy foot traffic on your roof, it may cause de-grading of the roofing product, resulting in leaks. We recommend all commercial and residential flat roofs be inspected by a professional each year. This can save you a lot of money!
We hope these tips will help you keep your roof in the best shape possible.
We also know that May weather in Oklahoma can be VERY hard, if not disastrous, on a roof. As always, if you have any concerns about your roof, please call us! We’d be happy to advise you and help where possible.